NIA charges Hafiz, Salahuddin, Hurriyat leaders with sedition Defence lawyers of accused question jurisdiction of case

A charge sheet was filed Thursday against 12 people by the NIA including JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, Hurriyat leaders, leading Kashmiri businessmen and two youth including a photo journalist for “conspiring to wage war against the government” and fomenting trouble in the Kashmir Valley.
The charge sheet also alleged that officials of Pakistan High Commission here were passing on money through now- arrested businessman Zahoor Watali to separatists who would hand it over to them after deducting his cut.
The NIA filed the 12,794-page charge sheet, along with annexure, before a designated NIA court here and sought permission to continue its probe related to terror funding in Jammu and Kashmir, the agency said in a statement here today.

Additional Sessions Judge Tarun Sherawat, after hearing arguments on the charge sheet, posted the matter for January 30 when it will decide on the point of taking cognisance of the document.
The 10 arrested accused persons urged the court not to take cognisance citing lack of jurisdiction.
NIA alleged that Saeed is accused of using the services of Watali for passing money to separatists and some individuals who were actively indulging in stone pelting in various areas of the Valley.
The agency charged Saeed and Salahuddin along with 10 others for criminal conspiracy, sedition, and under stringent provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
NIA officials claimed they had gathered substantial material and technical evidence during the probe.
They said 60 locations were raided and 950 incriminating documents seized. There are 300 witnesses in the case.
Besides Saeed, Salahuddin and Watali, the agency has also named separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Shah alias Altaf Fantoosh, Bashir Ahmad Bhat and photo journalist Kamran Yusuf, who has been identified along with Javed Ahmad Bhat as a stone pelter.
Hurriyat leaders Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate, Mohammad Akbar Khanday, Ataf Hilal and Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal have also been charged by the agency.
All the 10 arrested accused are currently in judicial custody and were produced before the court.
After the NIA filed the documents, the advocates appearing for the jailed accused questioned the jurisdiction of the case.
“Why the case is filed here while the everything relates to Jammu & Kashmir? The cognisance should not be taken,” the defence counsel said.
Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, appearing for the NIA, opposed the contention of the accused persons, saying that the NIA is a premier agency and has rightly filed the charge sheet in Delhi.
The court, meanwhile, rejected the demand of the accused persons to supply them the charge sheet.
“Let me first go through it first and decide on the point of taking cognisance,” the court said.
The agency has charged the Hurriyat leaders with acting under the overall guidance of and instructions from Saeed and Salahuddin and their “Pakistani handlers” and plotting strategies to launch violent protests.
They communicated these to the people in the form of “protest calendars” released through newspapers, social media and religious leaders, it said.
These acts aimed at creating an atmosphere of terror and fear in Jammu and Kashmir, the NIA alleged.
The NIA claimed a “threadbare scrutiny and analysis” of documents and digital devices seized by it established that the Hurriyat leaders, terrorists and stone pelters were carrying out “militant attacks, orchestrating violence, stone pelting and other subversive and secessionist activities” in the state.
These actions were a “part of their well-planned criminal conspiracy hatched with the active support, connivance and funding from terrorist organisations based in Pakistan and its agencies to achieve their objective of secession of the state of Jammu and Kashmir by waging war against the government of India,” the agency alleged.
“The gang of the accused persons is receiving funds from Pakistani agencies through hawala conduits such as accused Watali and others and also raising funds by generating illegal profits from LoC barter trade by doing under-invoicing and cash-dealings,” it alleged.
It claimed money was also routed through fake and bogus companies floated abroad and remitted to the Hurriyat leaders in Jammu and Kashmir.
“All these funds are then pumped by them into fuelling mass violence and militant activities so as to cause damage to public property, disrupt essential services, throwing normal life in the state into chaos with an intention to threaten the unity, integrity and sovereignty of India by striking terror in the minds of the public and by waging war against the government of India,” the agency said.
The judicial custody of 10 accused people arrested in connection with the case ended today.
Under the anti-terror law — the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act — the prosecuting agency has to file a charge sheet within six months, failing which an accused is eligible for bail.